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Got my Adobe Community Expert (ACE) designation today...thanks, Adobe!

I was delighted to learn today that I have been designated an Adobe Community Expert (ACE). Many know the program as the segue from Team Macromedia, and my readers may remember that I was a member of that program until April 2003 when I...uh...took a sabattical. :-)

Anyway, I'm back in the program and very honored. (It may take a few days to get the listing on the site.) I look forward to continuing to contribute to the CFML and broader Adobe community.

Need to manage an IIS 6 server from XP? Get MS snap-in "IIS 6 Manager for XP"

If you need to access an IIS 6 server from XP and try "actoin>connect" to point to one, you'll get an error, "Remote administration of IIS 6.0 from IIS 5.1 is not supported. Please upgrade to IIS 6.0 Administration Pack". Yet if you head to the MS site you may have trouble finding a tool of that name.

If you look carefully though, a search for that there or on the web will find you "Internet Information Services (IIS) 6.0 Manager for Windows XP", and that's indeed what you want.

After installing, note that it still doesn't make it possible to access IIS 6.1 servers from IIS 5's manager. Instead, it creates a new separate instance of IIS Manager 6 in your Administrative Tools alongside your IIS 5 manager. (The download page warns that it will not appear in "Computer Manager" if you also have the IIS 5.1 manager, but I saw both there and they worked fine.)

Note as well that the IIS 6 manager has no trouble accessing IIS 5 servers, so you may well just choose to use the new manager in place of the old for all your IIS management needs. Of course, it won't let you do anything on your 5.1 IIS that you couldn't do before: still no support for multiple web sites, for instance. (Though see a blog entry I did in the past on ways to get around that.)

Interesting discovery from WebApper on CFSWITCH when used with strings, under load

The folks at WebApper have shared news of an interesting discovery regarding a performance problem they've observed when using CFSWITCH and a string value for EXPRESSION, especially in a loop under load. It seems interesting enough to make sure others notice it. Check it out.

Really slick multi-file upload tool

Some time back I was exchanging thoughts with some folks about the hassles of multiple file uploads in web pages. Of course, the good ol'
<input type="file">
tag can only load one at a time. It also offers no progress bars, nor much other feedback. Well the folks I was speaking (at Digital Crew) with just went and built a custom tag, CF_ProFlashUpload, to solve the problem.

Now, the bad news for some is that it's not free, but $50. Still, it seems very much worth the price if you really need what it solves.

Check out info, demos, an eval download, and more at http://www.cftagstore.com/tags/flashmultipleupload.cfm. Besides a flash progress bar, it also offers options for handling callbacks and much more.

For those who really want a free tool, I just saw today that Dave Shuck pointed to one as well:

http://www.daveshuck.com/index.cfm?commentID=112

Update: In case you come along and find this entry after it was written in July 2006, note that I now have a long list of alternative file upload tools, in a category of my CF411 list, File Upload Tools . Please check there for other alternatives in this and 125+ other categories.

Need to migrate an Access DB into SQL Server? Here's a solution you may have missed?

If you have need to migrate an Access DB to SQL Server 2005, Microsoft has a free tool to help, which it seems many may miss.

Check out: http://www.microsoft.com/sql/solutions/migration/default.mspx#EYC

Thanks to Teddy Payne for pointing it out in his blog entry, which also offers an additional document he's put together on the migration steps.

Great new resource: a weekly summary of the CF blogosphere

Hey folks, here's something to add if you wish to keep up on the news of the week in the CF blogspace. Andy Allan of the Scottish CFUG (www.scottishcfug.com) has started to keep a running weekly summary of what he observes to be the top news stories of the week among the various CF blogs.

Because he's using Ray's awesome BlogCFC tool and is marking the entries in a category (blog-round-up), you can easily keep an eye on all future posts.

Here's the RSS feed URL for just the blog-round-up category:

http://www.creative-restraint.co.uk/blog/rss.cfm?mode=full&mode2=cat&catid=93661280-C6C5-1A2A-16D86B1A3ADA948E

And here's the URL to view just the blog-round-up category in a browser:

http://www.creative-restraint.co.uk/blog/index.cfm/Blog-Round-Up

Finally, here is this week, his first post:

http://www.creative-restraint.co.uk/blog/index.cfm/2006/7/22/Blog-Round-Up

Awesome stuff, Andy! Thanks so much, on behalf of the entire CFML community.

Of course, let's recognize that this is really a substantial undertaking for him. There could be times when he misses publishing it, or perhaps misses some entry you feel is vital. I'm sure he'll welcome comments there, but let's also cut him some slack.

If it becomes a more vital resource that proves too much for him to handle alone, perhaps it could become a community contributed resource. Maybe there's even some alternative approach where desirable blog entries are marked and rated by the community (without being lost in world-volume services like Digg, Technorati, Delicious, etc.) I don't use them to know, but perhaps others can comment (here or at Andy's entry).

But for now, let's just all sit back, relax, and gratefully enjoy Andy's editorial efforts. Thanks, dude!

PS If you don't use an RSS reader, note that you can also subscribe to his entire blog (you'll get an email of all new posts) using the subscribe form on the page. Or, you can use a cool tool like Squeet to have IT watch the RSS feed and send you emails for new posts in that feed. I've blogged about that elsewhere:

http://www.tipicalcharlie.com/blog_email_notification_by_squeet.htm (Update: tipicalcharlie domain is no more, but page recovered using Archive.org.)

(Update: Sadly, squeet (a tool to send RSS feeds by email) is no more. But there are other alternatives, that I track in a category of my CF411 site: http://www.cf411.com/rss_email.)

Congrats to the top 3 speakers at CFUnited...my streak is over ;-)

Congratulations to the top 3 speakers at CFUnited this year: Josh Adams, Dave Ross, and Jeff Tapper. Each had the highest average rating (out of a total of 20 points) per attendee for one of their sessions. Josh had a stellar 19.827.

With 80 total sessions being scored (ratings were per session, even if a repeat), it's quite an honor to come out on top. Indeed, I had been one of the top speakers the past 2 years, so my streak is over but I heartily congratulate the new winners.

I'll note that only .03 points separated the next 7 speakers, so it was a tight race. Those who scored 19 or over were, from 4th place on: Sean Corfield, Ron West, Joey Coleman, Maxim Porges, Shlomy Gantz, Ray Camden, myself, Sandy Clark, and Ray Camden again. (Remeber, it was per session, not per speaker, nor even per all sessions by a speaker. Of course, it was also only based on those who filled in surveys.)

Sean and I can take some consolation in having rated the top two number of surveys turned in, both over 90 at 93 and 92, respectively. But I know that many other speakers had very crowded rooms and hear lots of raves about them, so the lesson here is "turn in those surveys".

See you next year! :-)

I-Spry Part 7: You can now run the Adobe Spry samples live on the labs site

Here's some good news: you can now run the Spry samples directly from the labs web site. Sure, the "demos" (versus "samples") have always been available there, but when 1.2 was released I pointed out in my entry on it that sadly you couldn't run the "samples" there.

(As suggested in the entry's title, this is part of a series I'm doing on Spry. Be sure to check out the other entries.)

Instead, you had to download the product to run them, which seemed a shame. As easy as it might be, I could see some people wanting to be able to point demos out to others, for instance, without expecting them to download it. I'm happy to report that this has now been fixed.

Check 'em all out.

I-Spry Part 6: Don't Miss the Spry RSS Reader demo--it's "for real"!

Have you by any chance tried the RSS Reader demo app in the Spry download, and kind of yawned because it seems to be static and not "real"?

The problem is that in the download, the Readme.html points to the file demos/rssreader/index.html. Sadly, that one just reads a static XML file that simulates an RSS feed (showing "lorem ipsum" or "greeked" text).

But if you've run the demo on the labs.adobe.com site, you will have seen a "real" RSS feed. What gives?

(As suggested in the entry's title, this is part of a series I'm doing on Spry. Be sure to check out the other entries.)

Gotcha 1: There are really 3 demo files to choose from

Here's the situation: in that demos/rssreader/ directory, there are actually 3 different files available to be run: index.html, index-cfm.html, and index-php.html. The latter two will get real, live RSS feeds. But again, the readme.html doesn't point to them, so you may miss them.

OK, so now you know they're there. Do check them out. As I'll explain in a moment, they hold a key to one problem CFML folks often want to solve when working with Spry. Here are a couple other gotchas.

Gotcha 2: You need to run them on intended servers

If you do run them, note that you have to put them on the respective kinds of servers (index-cfm.html on a CFML server, or index-php.html on a PHP server).

Under the covers, the pages make a request to the named RSS feed by way of CFML or PHP code running on your server, and then send the resulting XML down to the client.

How they get around Javascript/browser security restrictions for requesting XML from other servers

This approach is indeed the way that you get around the Javascript/browser security limitation that would otherwise preclude the client making an httprequest to a server other than the one that sent the HTML page. (In the CFML version, it ultimately calls on a CFM page that does a CFHTTP on the client's behalf.)

If you're wanting to grab some XML from a server other than the one serving your Spry HTML page, and you've found that it doesn't work, this is the challenge and indeed the solution you need. See the demo source for more. Here is another example.

Gotcha 3: You can't request them via the file system

One other gotcha in running the CFM and PHP versions of the HTML pages: you have to request them via a web server. In other words, you can't just open them via the file system (as you can with most Spry demos), but must load them via a URL like http://yourhost/.... Why is that? Because the index-cfm.html page makes its request for that CFM page as (for example):

var dsCategories = new Spry.Data.XMLDataSet("data/feeds.cfm", "feeds/feed/category", { distinctOnLoad: true, sortOnLoad: "category" });

That then causes the browser to try to request the data/feeds.cfm file in the same manner in which the enclosing index-cfm.html was requested. And we all know you can't request a CFM page using the file system!

Gotcha 4: The Labs page demo runs index.html, but it's really the index-php.html

Adding to the confusion in all this, if you run the demo on the adobe labs site, clicking on the link in the RSSreader demo link in the readme.html there, it works "as expected" (real RSS feeds) even though it's pointing at demos/rssreader/index.html. Why does it work there, you may wonder?

Well, if you do a view source of that page there, you see that it's doing the PHP approach. What they've really done is renamed the PHP version to index.html, so that a "real" example shows when people run it there. I can see why they did, but I can also see it confusing some trying to connect all these dots. (Let's not give them grief for not running the CFM version!)

Gotcha 5: Some feeds fail when run from downloaded code, but working on the labs site

One last comment, and it's really separate from the main points above. When I run the page that serves the "real" feed, on my localhost, I notice that several of them fail (they get the error, "failed to load feed items", using the new spry:state tag).

But the version on the adobe live site works fine. I don't know if the difference is their running the PHP version, and my running the CFML one. Or perhaps they've updated what's running there?

When I analyze the HTTP streams coming in on the "failed" feeds, they are indeed receiving expected RSS XML.

Anyway, I leave that for your consideration.

Just don't miss these demos!

Anyway, the main point is that they're just not listed in the readme, so I fear most will miss them. I did, for some time. Hope this helps.

MS Virtual PC (and Virtual Server) Now Free

Many may know that MS had released Virtual Server for free, but this week they also released Virtual PC (VPC) for free. Wow. For those who don't know about virtualization, let me share a little more, including other alternatives.

First, for more on the release of VPC as free, see:

http://blogs.msdn.com/virtual_pc_guy/archive/2006/07/12/662535.aspx

About Virtualization

With virtualization you can run one "guest" OS (or Virtual Machine/VM) inside another "host" (your regular machine). That could be Linux inside Windows, or vice-versa. Or you could run Windows 2000 inside XP, etc.

Or you may choose simply to run multiple instances of a given OS on one box, perhaps using one guest to isolate changes to protect your main host. It's such a powerful solution for testing, development, and more.

Licensing the OS within the VM

To be clear: you still need to have licenses for whatever OS's you want to run in the VM/guest. VPC and other tools don't "come with a license" for any OS. You need to install one in your guest and you must own it.

I will note, however, that MS has revamped its licensing to recognize the use of OS's you DO own on virtual machines. I'll leave you to sort through the details to determine how it fits your situation:

http://www.microsoft.com/licensing/highlights/virtualization.mspx

Learning More about VM Products

Finally, to get VPC, visit:

http://www.microsoft.com/virtualpc

And for the server edition, see:

http://www.microsoft.com/virtualserver

FWIW, its major competitor (on Windows systems), VMWare, had also long ago released their server edition for free:

http://www.vmware.com/products/server/

The also released a free "virtual player". For more, see:

http://www.vmware.com/products/free_virtualization.html

For mac users, you probably already know that Parallels Desktop, while not free, is only $50.

Let the virtual reality begin. :-)

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